Yesterday, there was a story about Lo Fu-chu 羅福助, who may be considering a run in New Taipei 12. (New Taipei 12 is centered on the Xizhi district.) Lo is one of Taiwan’s most infamous citizens. He is widely considered to be one of the top figures, perhaps THE top figure, in Taiwan’s organized crime landscape. Lo previously sat in the legislature, winning in 1998 and 2001. His tenure in the legislature was marked by controversy, to say the least. He was often verbally attacked by other legislators who wished to grandstand as being against organized crime. Lo did not always react with restraint. In one case, Liao Hsueh-kuang 廖學廣, a colorful legislator in his own right, locked horns with Lo. A few days later, Liao was abducted. He reappeared naked inside a dog cage next to a road a few days later. Maybe this was just coincidence; maybe it wasn’t.Oldtimers will remember Lo when he was at one point co-chair of the legislature's -- hold for it -- judiciary committee. Yes, the man who used to brag that he was "spiritual leader" of what was then one of the island's three most powerful organized crime gangs, the Celestial Alliance, was head of the judiciary committee and questioned the minister of justice. While in the legislature Lo, nominally independent, acted as a KMT enforcer. Fabulously wealthy, allegedly from illegal gambling, loan sharking, and the sex trade, Lo was imprisoned for a couple years in one of the anti-gangster sweeps two decades ago. Lo is a sharp operator, generous to his local area through his charities. As Frozen Garlic points out, he could well mount a strong challenge based on his ability to organize locals and toss money around. The whole post is good, be sure to read it.
Speaking of the KMT and organized crime, Frozen Garlic also blogs on Ma Ying-jeou and his alleged secret meeting with an underground gambler/bookie kingpin in the wilds of Chiayi. From FocusTaiwan, which reported on the President's denial that such a thing occurred:
The KMT's presidential election campaign headquarters also voiced a strong protest and asked Next Magazine, which published the report in its latest issue Wednesday, to clarify the facts and issue an apology.Ma has never been shy about cavorting with organized crime figures -- recall that he showed up at the wedding of powerful legislator and longtime alleged organized crime heavyweight Yen Ching-piao's son several years ago, along with other major KMT politicos. According to eTaiwan News:
Under the headline "Meeting Underground Gambling Tycoon, Stepping on Black Gold Mine," the report said Ma and Chen Ying-chu, a local businessman, had a closed-door meeting at Chiayi Mayor Huang Hui-min's home Sept. 10. It hinted that Ma had received a donation for his reelection campaign.
KMT spokesman Chuang Po-chung said the entire report was a a mare's nest. It is "untruthful reporting" based on rumors and it violates media professionalism, he said.
Meanwhile, Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi said Huang did in fact introduce Chiayi residents to Ma on two separate occasions at the old mayoral residence which has consistently been used as a reception hall -- one in 2008 and the other in 2009. However, they were routine greetings, he said.
Chen is reportedly involved in international online gambling and in betting on Taiwanese elections. He also has a criminal record, Next wrote.(Note that the nation's gambling establishment thinks Ma will win). Chen Ying-chu is not just any gambler, btw. This 2006 China Post article identifies him as a gambler with vast international connections:
In the process of investigating Lu’s account books in the following six months, Chiayi prosecutors found that Chen Ying-chu, the largest banker for online betting operations in Chinese communities around the world, and deputy city council speaker Chiu Fang-chin, were also involved in the case.If anyone wanted to funnel donations from sources overseas, the banker for Chinese communities all over the world would be just the ticket. But I'm sure nothing like that is happening.
Chen Ying-chu operates two general gambling Web sites abroad to handle all kinds of betting operations from Chinese gamblers, with Chiu Fang-chin serving as Chen’s general agent in Taiwan. If the stakes were for Hong Kong’s “Mark Six” lottery ticket numbers, the stakes were usually switched to Lu Po-hsien.
In any case, as Frozen Garlic pointed out, the brush with organized crime occurred just as Ma was raising the farmers subsidy after reversing himself when it was pointed out the pittance he had originally proposed would cost him thousands of votes. In other words, a double dose of bad news for Ma this week. Chip, chip, chip, the lead erodes.
ADDED: Oh, and CCA minister and longtime KMTer Emile Sheng stepped down today over the ridiculous bill for the musical staged on ROC national day... chip chip chip
- Bloomberg's William Pesek with an excellent piece on China's mercantilist approach to capitalism, the US, and the Obama Administration. Some people get it...
- FPIF on China's coming economic crisis
- Coryn holds up nomination of Mark Lippert as Obama's east asia point man over F-16 sale to Taiwan. Lockheed, the F-16 maker, is a big donor to Sen. Coryn.
- Taroko Race from Drew
- Why you should care about Taiwan. And Michael Mazza from AEI. And National Review Online (which sucks). The wretched Kane piece's one silver lining was its ability to bring out people to speak on Taiwan's behalf. Some of the stuff has been good. Oh yeah, at The Atlantic, James Fallows hosted some of my complaints about Kane.
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